Polesworth Baptist Church

   

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Some of our congregation

From the Congregation

November, 2017


CHRISTMAS IS ON THE HORIZON



Christmas is on the horizon. Luke begins his history of the birth of Jesus with the birth of John the Baptist, in which he tells us that the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, telling him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.” Now Zechariah was righteous before God, but he could not believe this good news: “How can I be sure of this? [For] I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.” His life of faith was undermined by his life of experience. Old men with barren wives do not have babies.

Mary, although a young teenage girl, has a similar awareness of life, so when Gabriel says she is going to be the mother of the Christ she innocently asks, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Gabriel explains that this will be by the direct action of God, and then, after telling her that Elizabeth, Zechariah’s barren wife is pregnant, declares “nothing is impossible with God.”

The church is a people living in the world and in the kingdom of God. But we can be so aware of what the world teaches us that we can set aside what Scripture teaches us about God. We can forget that what we are and can be is determined not by our worldly experience but by the power of God. And that prayer is the key that unlocks God’s power.

Thirty years ago President Reagan undiplomatically urged “Gorbachev, [to] tear down that wall” ie the Berlin Wall. Did he expect that some 2 years later, in 1989 that small groups of 10 or 12 people would assemble in their homes on Monday nights to pray for peace, with some 50,000 meeting by October, after which they moved into churches and the streets, increasing to around 300,000. On Nov 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall fell.

Prayer shapes the future. Of course we also need to take practical Kingdom seeking actions. But some-times we try to separate them, as if we can live by either alone, when we need both. We can see this clearly for example when the Amalekites tried to stop Israel’s progress to the Promised Land by battling against them at Rephidim, where Moses’ prayer work and Joshua’s practical action blend together to win the victory [Exodus 17:8-13] The combination of Kingdom activity and Father focused prayer was also the daily thrust of Jesus’ ministry.

One leader of the East German Communist Party reportedly said, when reflecting on their attempts to keep the Berlin Wall: "We had planned everything, we were prepared for everything, but not for candles and prayers.” As God’s Kingdom people we live in a world whose god is striving to surround us with spiritual Berlin Walls. Walls of disbelief, walls of pc values, walls of materialism – walls of any way he can devise to keep the people he holds in darkness from seeing the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. But we are the light of the world, we are Christ’s candles in the darkness. And the light we shine and the prayer we unleash in Christ can break down those walls, so that the blinded can be rescued by the Father from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

When we look at the state of the Church in our country today, we might ask ourselves: can we break down these walls? The answer to which is a plain and no nonsense ‘No’. But as Gabriel said to Mary “nothing is impossible with God”. And as Paul prays in Ephesians 3:20-21 may we also pray: “Now to Him Who by the Power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

May the Lord work through us to tear down the walls of darkness around us, so that many will be brought into the kingdom of the Son He loves.


Nick





 
Polesworth Baptist Church
The Gullet, Polesworth, Warwickshire, B78 1HH
Telephone The Secretary: 01827 893473
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